Hypertension (high blood pressure) affects an estimated 50 million Americans and contributed to approximately 251,000 deaths in 2000. Only approximately 34 percent of people with high blood pressure have it controlled, the articles state. Individuals with blood pressure above optimal levels, but without clinically defined hypertension are said to have "prehypertension" (systolic pressure of 120-139 millimeters of mercury or a diastolic blood pressure of 80 to 89 millimeters of mercury) and are at an increased risk of developing hypertension and are more likely to have other heart disease and stroke risk factors, according to background information in the articles.
Kurt J. Greenlund, Ph.D. from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from 3,488 patients aged 20 years and older with blood pressure readings recorded during the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Cholesterol levels, diabetes mellitus, smoking status, proportion who are overweight or obese, and the presence of other risk factors were compared among patients based on blood pressure groups: normotensive (normal blood pressure), prehypertensive, and hypertensive.
Of the patients studied, 39 percent were normotensive, 31 percent were prehypertensive, and 29 percent were hypertensive. The prevalence of prehypertension was greater in men (39 percent) than in women (23.1 percent). Additionally, African A
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